Arts Alive Festival 2016

The annual Art’s Alive Festival is hosted by Mission Viejo at the Norman P. Murray Center. This year’s event took place on April 30 and May 1 with a 90’s theme. Street painters, youth or adult, come to showcase their skills. There are great booths set up with fun activities like henna tattoos, cookie walks, and just little shops with paintings, clothes, and plants to buy. There’s always music playing when you walk in and musicians on the stage. It’s a fun event to visit that allows you to be involved with the community.

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As a street painter for the last two years, I love coming to the festival and presenting artwork as an artist, even if it’s something I’m not known for. There were many interpretations of the theme this year, but a popular one seemed to be Disney, especially The Lion King. My friends and I decided to draw a 90’s cartoon.

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There were also a few Pokémon and Nirvana drawings. And how could you forget the 90’s hit show, Friends?

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This year’s paintings were very colorful and vibrant. It was impressive to see what some of the artists could draw, even the younger kids were able to shade the paintings almost perfectly, which brought the festival to life. All the festivals held by Mission Viejo are worth checking out to get an up-close view of what our community means to us and how we celebrate it.

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-Sabrina C., 10th Grade

Sun + Science = Fun

What started as a dreary, overcast morning in Mission Viejo later turned into a warm, lovely sunny afternoon. Perfect conditions for sun printing! On Saturday, March 19th, teens gathered at the Mission Viejo Library to make crafts using a product called Inkodye. Right out of the bottle, the fluid is translucent and bland in hue but when set in the sun for about twelve minutes, the dye reacts and releases its true, vibrant color! Using photo negatives and paper cut outs, our group made some really creative pieces of art. See for yourself!

Pseudonymous Bosch Event Review: February 19, 2016

pb-photoCheese is in the air, and the chants of “PB … PB … PB!” fill the room. There he appears, mysteriously dressed in a bee keeper’s mask and sunglasses. It is the world-renowned Pseudonymous Bosch, or PB for short! As he begins to talk of his travels as an adventurous author, we find out the secrets he has been holding back. Such as the secret behind the start of the Secret Series.

Have you ever wondered where the idea started or what inspired him to write the popular series? It turns out he was in elementary school when he wrote the first book. No, not enrolled in elementary school, but an adult volunteer. He participated in a pen pal program with a young student. Over time, Pseudonymous received stories and poems from his pen pal, and he felt bad that he wasn’t giving her anything in return. So, he decided to write a book chapter for her; however, he couldn’t figure out a title. He eventually realized he was writing a secret book and called it The Name of This Book Is Secret. He sent her the first chapter he wrote, but since the book was such a big secret, he had to censor the chapter to a series of XXXs. This, as you might imagine, was not the ideal first chapter of a book for his young pen pal. She wrote back admonishing him that he needed to write a real chapter. So he did, and she gave him helpful advice, or in Pseudonymous Bosch’s words, “very constructive criticism.” This continued, and before he realized it, he had almost written a novel. He had it published and dedicated it to his writing partner, May (aka WP May).

The event continued with Pseudonymous Bosch cracking hilarious jokes and everybody laughing, even the parents. During the Q and A session, I learned that through a pen name, you can be someone completely different. It must be frustrating at times for PB to have to seal away his identity; however, he does it well and has countless fans to show for it. So, kudos to you, Pseudonymous Bosch! We enjoy being entertained by you!

~Maya S., 8th Grade

Romeo and Juliet, A Theatre Review

Recently, I sat in the audience of the Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre in Laguna Beach as I watched actors both young and old act out Shakespeare’s famous play, The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. To be honest, I had no complaints about the play itself. The actors were all very well rehearsed and the performance was very polished, a difficult feat given how hard it is to read Shakespearean dialect, let alone memorize and perform it.

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“Romeo and Juliet” by Frank Dicksee

Many parts which I remember from reading the play itself were identical in the stage adaption. A couple scenes were edited, but only slightly. Additionally, a few scenes were different than what I had pictured as well as from what the movie versions of the play depicts. A main example of this is the fight that the Capulet and Montague families have in the middle of the market in the beginning of the play. I imagined there to be more characters on each side while the Laguna Playhouse adaption maintained a smaller crowd. Regardless, these slight differences did not necessarily take away from the overall play. It was still very enjoyable.

If you are someone who enjoys watching student theatre productions, I would definitely recommend looking into the Laguna Playhouse productions. I have watched a variety of productions there, from Tom Sawyer to an adaption of Lois Lowry’s The Giver to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I have always been extremely impressed by the performances because these students are all able to produce a polished and entertaining performance in addition to handling the stress of school.

– Leila S., 10th grade

Author Visit: Tui T. Sutherland

On Friday, November 7th, author Tui T. Sutherland paid a visit to the Mission Viejo Library. She has written many books under different pen names, and came to talk about them.

Probably the most well-known of all the series she has worked on are Warriors and Seekers, as she is part of the group writing under the Erin Hunter pen name, and for a longer time worked as their editor.

She also has written a series of her own, the Wings of Fire series. Wings of Fire stars five dragonets who are part of a special prophecy. So far, there are five books in the series, and a sixth, Moon Rising, which we got to hear a special preview of, is coming out in late December. It focuses on a dragonet named Moonwatcher, who inherited the power of prophecy, and has received a new prophecy that will change everything.

Tui has also written one book in the Spirit Animals series, Against the Tide. Spirit Animals is a unique series in that the authors receive a plotline and then can take it in whatever direction they like. Other authors that have written in the Spirit Animals series include Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, and Marie Lu.

Another series of hers was written cooperatively with her sister, Kari Sutherland. The Menagerie is about a secret zoo in Wyoming that is discovered by a boy when six griffin cubs mysteriously escape. There are two other books in the series, Dragon on Trial, the second book, and Krakens and Lies, which is coming out in March 2015.

Many people love the books that Tui T. Sutherland writes, myself included. She has a certain way with writing that entrances you and absorbs you into her world. Many thanks that this amazing author was able to take time out of her day to visit all her fans and talk about her books.

-Linna C.,

Event Recap: Summer Lovin’ 2.0 Tour

summerlovin2.0Over the summer, I had the pleasure to meet four amazing authors at the Mission Viejo Library as a part of the Summer Lovin’ 2.0 Book Tour. These authors include Suzanne Young, Sarah Ockler, C.J. Flood and Jody Casella. Although I haven’t read any of their books yet, I got two at the event (Bittersweet and #Scandal) and I cannot wait to read them! I along with other people asked questions about how they became authors, where they get inspiration and how it affects their day-to-day life.

One question that stood out to me was “How long did it take for you to write your books?” because the answers vary so greatly depending on who you are. For example, for Jody Casella (who used Nanowrimo) took a full year to complete. Meanwhile Sarah Ockler finished her hit #Scandal in 4 years. Jody Casella’s Infinite Sky took three to four years to complete. The funny thing about writing is that its like riding a bike (yes, I know such a cliché simile but yes, I’m going to use it!) at first you’re wobbling, its hard to keep your balance and takes forever. But once you get the hang of it, its a much smoother ride that takes much less time. Just like the simile, Suzanne Young wrote her first book in 4 moths and now it only takes one month for her to finish a writing.

We then asked what these four writers do when they’re not you know, writing. Jody Casella’s only job is to write books although she was once an English teacher at a high school. Sarah Ockler is also a full time writer, as well as CJ Flood. Suzanne Young is a high school English teacher.

More questions followed and so did more answers. These four women are such inspirations for aspiring authors and its amazing to hear each of their stories. At the end of the event, we were given pizza and soda. Quite the way to end such a fun event. These writers were awesome to meet and I’m so glad I went.

-Danielle T., 8th grade

Event Recap: Teen Writing Workshop with Shannon Messenger

shannon_messengerMany of you heard Shannon Messenger speak at the Mission Viejo Summer Lovin’ event last summer.  On Thursday, September 14, 2014, there was another event at the Rancho Santa Margarita Library.  Her teen writing workshop drew over 60 middle schoolers.  Messenger taught us some of the fundamental steps for beginning writers.  She explained characterization and world building as well as plot methods.  Within an hour, I began to feel like a better writer and reader.

One of the first things she recommended was to know your characters and to treat them like real people.  From her personal experience, she advised that you shouldn’t care what people think of you for saying in a conversation, “I want my character to do this, but she won’t let me!”  This cracked everyone up.  As Messenger continued, with a smile, she said we need to know our characters like we know ourselves by asking our character five questions:

  • What does your character want?
  • What does your character need?
  • What is your character afraid of?
  • How does your character feel about himself/herself?
  • What is your character hiding?

The next topic she addressed was building your story’s “world”–big or small, rich or poor, or even fantastic or realistic.  You also need to add in the history, culture, technology, transportation, and government.  The history can be pretty easy.  If it is a fantasy story, you can just make it up, but in a realistic fiction or historical fiction, you may need to research the location.  Culture consists of art, music, fashion, and sports.  The technology means acknowledging the inventions appropriate for your time period.  She advised that transportation can be tricky.  Is your character old enough to drive?  Or do you need to come up with some other means of moving from place to place? Finally, you need to define the type of government, laws, currency, language, and social structure.

The last big topic was “how to.”  Shannon Messenger said that adjectives are one contributing factor to a best-selling author’s success. Use your sensory words to describe different aspects of your town.  Such as, “She saw the blue sky and smelled the fresh scent of pine and evergreen.  As the aroma wafted to her nose, a memory flooded into her mind, and she heard her dad cutting down a Christmas tree for their house before he left for the army.  The scene brought tears to her eyes, and she felt one stray salty tear find its way into her mouth.  She tasted its bitter remembrance.” Using sensory language envelopes the reader in the scene.  In addition, Messenger recommended keeping an “idea journal” to keep track of your great ideas.  Messenger concluded by wishing us good luck and advising us to listen to the stories within us.

This was one of the most helpful writing workshops I have attended.  Shannon Messenger is one of my all-time favorite authors, and you can read my review of her Keeper of the Lost Cities series here.

-Maya S., 7th grade